Magazine article USA TODAY

Can Our Empire of Debt Continue?

Magazine article USA TODAY

Can Our Empire of Debt Continue?

Article excerpt

If Pres. George W. Bush's new 11-pound, 2,400-page budget--one that will saddle this country with a record $423,000,000,000 deficit--failed to send chills up your spine, you must be asleep. Indeed, asleep seems to be the new awake, maintains Addison Wiggin, co-author of Empire of Debt: The Rise of an Epic Financial Crisis.

According to Wiggin, Americans remain oblivious to the severity of the situation, as they go on their merry way maxing out credit cards, buying Chinese products at discount superstores, and taking out inflated mortgages that symbolize the country's addiction to living beyond one's means.

"Ignorance is indeed bliss," Wiggin contends. "It is deeply unpleasant to consider the fact that the U.S. continues to rack up another $80,000,000 of debt every hour, or that our trade deficit has hit an all time high of $725,800,000,000. So, we close our eyes. But the denial that comforts us today also keeps us from seeing the catastrophe that's rushing toward us like the proverbial freight train."

Wiggin, who works at Agora Financial, one of the world's largest financial newsletter companies, declares that he wants his readers to open their eyes. Here are a few sobering points from his book and newsletter, Daily Reckoning.

* The 2007 Defense Department budget will cost $439,300,000,000 or seven percent more than in 2006. As for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans so far pay about $46,000,000 per AI Qaeda operative killed. …

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